News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • November 20, 2017, 03:25:01 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?  (Read 13090 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

ClementineDreamer

  • Guest
STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« on: August 22, 2015, 07:29:29 PM »
I'm in my mid 20s and have struggled with my weight my entire life. A couple years ago, I lost close to 40 pounds, and had finally reached a healthy weight range. I've always had a bigger frame, however. Anyway, my friend and I were catching the train home from a bar one night. I had noticed this scraggly, almost homeless-looking guy pacing up and down the train platform beforehand but didn't notice when he got on our train. My friend and I were happily chatting away when I noticed him walking towards us on the train. I thought he was going to ask for money. He then snarls (loudly for all to hear) at me "How did YOU get so huge?!"

Now, my knee jerk reaction should have been that obviously this guy wasn't all there in the head and was more than likely affected by drugs. My friend, out of what she later described as a nervous reaction, burst out laughing. I just sat there staring at him in shock as he repeated insults and then started rambling. The "bystander effect" is often talked about and I didn't expect anyone on the train would come to my defence if he started attacking me/us, which I felt was possible. But I emember hearing a male passengers voice further up the carriage utter "That's not a very polite thing to say." which distracted him just long enough for us to rush off the train, several stops from home.

I'm still haunted by this incident 2 years on, and sometimes find myself in a state of panic in certain public settings. I'm expecting to be called out by a stranger at any moment and I won't know how to react??? 

I really like the "How kind of you to take an interest" but I feel like in this situation, it would have antagonised him further. I know this is just something I'll have to overcome but it is still affecting me to this day.

RubyCat

  • Member
  • Posts: 866
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2015, 07:55:30 PM »
I guess this would fall under "do not engage the crazy."  I'm truly sorry he made you feel bad about yourself. Sometimes things just catch you off guard, and I suspect your friend laughed because of nerves.  I'm glad somebody else had the presence of mind to call him out on it and to also divert his attention.

None of us have perfect bodies. Due to illnesses, I have been both underweight and overweight. So long as you are healthy and feel good, it really doesn't matter. 

Obviously, this man hit a nerve or made you feel unsettled. Unfortunately, there are many, far too many, mentally ill individuals living on the street.  I'm so sorry he scared you and/or made you feel bad. Please try to keep in mind that his comments had little to do with you and a whole lot to do with his disturbed state of mind. As somebody who grew up in a big city and had to deal with these types all too frequently, I would have mentally thought an ehell definitely not approved "bleep you" that I would dare not say out loud and have a story to tell later. I know this individual frightened you (and I would be shaken, too) but honestly, he is more deserving of your pity than your anger. It was a really lousy thing that you experienced. I hope it's okay if I send some hugs.

gramma dishes

  • Member
  • Posts: 7329
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2015, 08:14:40 PM »
  ^^^  Everything Ruby Cat said.

I also thought "Don't engage the crazy" is more apropos to this situation than "How kind of you ... "

EllenS

  • Member
  • Posts: 4654
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2015, 09:01:36 PM »
Some people reach the state that the only part of reality they can still contact, is the ability to get a rise out of someone.  If they get a reaction, it's like they are still connected somehow to other people.

I, too, have encountered many severely mentally ill individuals on public transit.  One spent an entire 30-minute bus ride explaining to the whole bus how he could tell that I was actually a transperson  (with bizarrely graphic detail, which IIRC was transmitted to him by his alien contact) and that I was trying to seduce him with my evil artificial b**bs, so that I could take over his mind, or something.

Another time, a drunk or high fellow berated me for about 100 blocks on the subway for eating when I was already so disgustingly fat. Since I was 38 weeks pregnant at the time, I informed him that in a week or so, I'd be dropping a lot of weight pretty quick. The rest of the train car was laughing at him. He never did figure it out.

Please just ignore this sort of thing. If you are having panic attacks about going into public places, I'd consider this event to be an inciting incident or trigger, rather than a fundamental cause.  Please get some care for panic attacks.  They are horrible, and they are treatable, and you should not have to just put up with them.

Outdoor Girl

  • Member
  • Posts: 16402
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 11:00:38 AM »
I agree with EllenS that it might be beneficial to talk to someone about the incident.  I tend to internalize incidents like this and it takes me a while to get over them but 2 years is a long time to still be haunted by something some random bacon-fed knave said to you.

'Don't engage the crazy' is definitely good advice.  Wish I could take it myself more often.   :P
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

#borecore

  • Member
  • Posts: 5170
  • Extreme normcore
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 01:11:57 PM »
We were heckled by a homeless man recently "You walk with such hauteur! You think you're so important!" etc. because apparently we walk with decent posture. It's become a joke in our household whenever one of us is tired to tease the other for doing _____ "with such hauteur!"

You really can't let the random comments of strangers get to you so much. Since, in this case, it has really gotten to you already, I strongly suggest a session or two with a counselor. They can help you with coping.

In your case, coping strategies may or may not include snappy comebacks. I'm betting that's a way down the road for your with your current issue of internalizing this comment.

EllenS

  • Member
  • Posts: 4654
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 02:23:21 PM »
I think "you walk with such hauteur" is a pretty darn awesome way to be heckled.

TootsNYC

  • Member
  • Posts: 33792
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 03:15:27 PM »
I think part of why this is bothering you is that you felt *unsafe*. He was clearly on the other side of the line for acceptable behavior, he targeted you, and he verbally attacked.

Of course you felt unsafe.

And you clearly worried that he might physically attack you as well.

Having an incident like this haunt you and give you anxiety is actually not surprising. Throw in the emotions that often accompany weight, for women especially, and that gives the anxiety extra "glue."

I also suggest you talk to someone; there are many ways that pros can help you cope (cognitive behavioral therapy is one; there are others).

Twik

  • Member
  • Posts: 28864
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 08:37:12 AM »
I think "you walk with such hauteur" is a pretty darn awesome way to be heckled.

She was lucky he didn't follow with "I find your je-ne-sais-quoi disturbing."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Goosey

  • Member
  • Posts: 1950
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 08:46:14 AM »
I went through something like this. When I was younger and overweight, I decided I needed to do something. I started running. The first few weeks were okay, then when I was running one morning a car full of rowdy young men paced me for a long time and kept screaming things like "run, fatty!" and mooing at me and laughing.

I was so humiliated and degraded that I didn't run again after that. I still can't exercise in front of anyone (including my husband) because I get so seriously anxious that I cry.

I have come to understand that my experience is not at all unusual for plus-sized women. It's kind of a double edged sword - everyone tells us we need to exercise more, but when we actually go out and do it we are opening ourselves up to humiliation instead of support from the public.

I am trying to put myself in more situations that make me anxious (I just signed up for yoga with a friend who is very supportive!). I think with issues like this, we almost need to retrain our brains to accept that all similar situations are not going to end up as the traumatizing situation our brains remember most. Most are just pretty boring like those first couple weeks of running.

It takes a lot to make us feel safe again and all I can do is wish you "good luck!"

Team HoundMom

  • Member
  • Posts: 1921
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 10:50:06 AM »
The worst part is thinking of the perfect comeback hours after the fact. 

Random Stranger: "How did YOU get so huge?"
Me: "How did YOU get to be such a (bad word)?"

...but if you don't have the kind of confidence to shut down jerks then I can see how it would rattle you.

Human beings can be horrible sometimes. 

Ginger G

  • Member
  • Posts: 309
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2015, 01:54:32 PM »
I'm sorry that happened, and I can empathize because I've had a life-long struggle with my weight and have endured the comments from strangers more times than I can probably even remember.  Oddly enough, the ones that have stuck with me the most are the ones that (like yours) occurred when I was actually on the thinner side (for me anyway). 

One I remember clearly was when I was in college.  I had lost a good bit of weight through diet and exercise and was feeling pretty good about myself. I wasn't "thin", but was at relatively good weight for my height, I am also tall and have a large frame. Anyway, my petite friend and I were at a popular festival in town and were approached by a man trying to sell us "pecan logs", which is a kind of candy that I have never particularly cared for.  We both politely said no thank you, and his response was to say to me "you don't need one anyway".  I won't repeat my response because it's not ehell approved, but I was much younger and more impulsive back then.  If it happened now, I would just walk away or say "your opinion means less than nothing to me" instead of insulting him back.  That guy had to beat a hasty retreat because the exchange was overheard by a couple of other guys who came to my defense and threatened him physically, making a bad situation worse.

PinkPixie

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2015, 06:40:46 AM »
I am so, so sorry you had to endure this awful situation, OP.

There really is no excuse for that person's behavior - none at all. I too have struggled with my weight for my entire life and after losing a few pounds, I finally decided I was confident enough to wear my brand new pink dress out for a night out with friends. I wasn't wearing a cover over my arms for the first time because I'd lost some weight and wearing this dress, a daring color and cut was a really big step for me. I felt fantastic and the first half of the night started fantastically.

Halfway through, a man started ruffling my hair on the dance floor and trying to get my attention. I wasn't interested in talking to him so I simply ignored him. When I did happen to catch his eye, he mouthed the words "You are FAT" at me and walked away. Well, all I can say is - I was utterly, utterly crushed and my night was absolutely ruined. As soon as I got home, I threw my pink dress away and I still struggle with 'nights out' to this day, in fear of being insulted and crushed again.

I responded to this 'man' with complete silence as I really wasn't sure how to react. I was shocked, truth be told. OP, you handled this situation with a lot more grace and dignity than that awful individual that hurt you did and once again, I am so sorry you had this happen to you. Keep your head high.

Venus193

  • Member
  • Posts: 17049
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2015, 08:45:24 AM »
Some people reach the state that the only part of reality they can still contact, is the ability to get a rise out of someone.  If they get a reaction, it's like they are still connected somehow to other people.


I completely agree with this.  There are also many people in this world who exist just to rain on others' parades.  The best thing to do is to ignore it (in absence of the snappy comeback).  Don't engage the crazy.

I didn't have a serious weight problem in my youth, but my lack of beauty made me a target.  I was pushed down stairs a few times and teased unmercifully almost to the point of suicide when I was 12 and started having complexion problems.  To this day I try to move faster when descending stairs in subways and other public places.  I have to remind myself that I'm not 12 anymore.  I'm glad because today's beauty standards are so unrealistic.

You are not alone.

Talk to a mental health pro for some perspective.  It will help because people who do this kind of thing to strangers have bigger problems than their victims.





Jocelyn

  • Member
  • Posts: 2013
Re: STILL haunted by a strangers comment on the train?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2015, 11:31:19 AM »
I am so, so sorry you had to endure this awful situation, OP.

There really is no excuse for that person's behavior - none at all. I too have struggled with my weight for my entire life and after losing a few pounds, I finally decided I was confident enough to wear my brand new pink dress out for a night out with friends. I wasn't wearing a cover over my arms for the first time because I'd lost some weight and wearing this dress, a daring color and cut was a really big step for me. I felt fantastic and the first half of the night started fantastically.

Halfway through, a man started ruffling my hair on the dance floor and trying to get my attention. I wasn't interested in talking to him so I simply ignored him. When I did happen to catch his eye, he mouthed the words "You are FAT" at me and walked away. Well, all I can say is - I was utterly, utterly crushed and my night was absolutely ruined. As soon as I got home, I threw my pink dress away and I still struggle with 'nights out' to this day, in fear of being insulted and crushed again.

 
Does it help to think that probably he was attracted to you and wanted to dance with you, but then as you ignored him, his ego felt crushed, so when he DID get your attention, he pulled out a handy insult, so he could pretend he didn't really want to dance with you after all?
Because I could totally see that happening.